2 Mystery Teams Looming In Jimmy Butler Trade Sweepstakes

Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat, NBA Rumors
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

For the last five seasons, Jimmy Butler has been the face of the Miami Heat. He has led them to two NBA Finals appearances and an additional trip to the Eastern Conference Finals, and he has seemingly been the ambassador of the Heat’s much-lauded winning culture.

But all of a sudden, following their first-round playoff loss this spring in which Butler didn’t play, there are rumors he could be leaving South Florida.

The one team that has been linked to Butler is the Philadelphia 76ers, the team he previously played with during the 2018-19 season. But according to Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald, there are now two mystery teams that will be vying for Butler’s services.

After Miami was knocked out of the playoffs, Butler said that had he been playing, the Boston Celtics, the team Miami faced in the first round, would’ve been defeated. That led team president Pat Riley to criticize the six-time All-Star for trash-talking when he wasn’t even playing.

“For him to say that, I thought, ‘Is that Jimmy trolling or is that Jimmy serious?'” Riley told reporters. “If you’re not on the court playing against Boston, if you’re not on the court playing against the New York Knicks, you should keep your mouth shut in your criticism of those teams.”

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers Updates

Butler wants to receive a lucrative extension from the Heat, but Riley has said publicly he’s unsure if he wants to give one to Butler. The forward has two years remaining on his current contract, one of which is a player option.

He may be 34 years of age, but he still performed well this season, averaging 20.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists a game while shooting 49.9 percent from the field and a career-high 41.4 percent from 3-point range.

If the Heat do end up trading Butler, it would likely trigger a rebuilding project that could take some time. They have Bam Adebayo, an All-Star two-way big man, and potent shooting guard Tyler Herro. Point guard Terry Rozier, who they acquired at midseason, has given them a little more pop offensively.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers Updates

But Butler is their lynchpin and the man who cracks the whip, not to mention one of the game’s deadliest closers and crunch-time performers. Last year, in the first round of the postseason versus Giannis Antetokounmpo and the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks, he was deadly down the stretch of games and averaged 37.6 points per game to send the Bucks home.

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